Mint Spice Bistro

"I came here in 1974, when I was two," says Pritesh Shah, the owner of the new Mint Spice Bistro (16305 Kensington, 281-242-1212). Shah and his family have been in the real estate development business in Houston, and they built the center that houses the restaurant, an upstairs lounge and a banquet room. You can tell it caters to the large Indian population that lives in southwest Houston and Sugar Land by the colorful saris offered in neighboring shops.

"I got into the restaurant business because I love food," says Shah. "We hired Chef Milind Patil, who has worked at Kirin's and Bombay Brasserie, and we're serving international food. Of course, there's Indian cuisine, but we're also serving things like nachos, sliders, fish and chips and mogo, which is an East African dish," says Shah.

We were curious about one of the dishes on the menu called Chicken 65. "There are two theories about the origin of the name," says Shah. "One is that there are 65 spices used to make the dish; the other is that you need a young chicken for this dish that is no more than 65 days old."

We tried the Chicken 65 and found it to be as the menu described it: "fiery." Made with yogurt and curry leaves, it will satisfy even the most avid spicy-food fan. The mogo, or fried cassava, was also quite spicy. A chicken korma with a rich, creamy, velvety sauce made of pistachios, almonds and cashews was perhaps the best dish of all, but everything was good.

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